Innovation

AR and VR: transforming businesses today

The world around us is 3D, but most of our business interactions take place in 2D, whether we’re looking at a database, a website, a set of architect’s drawings or concept designs for a new clothing line. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) offer the chance to interact with business data in full 3D, just the way nature intended.

This isn’t sci-fi anymore; AR and VAR are already altering how the business world functions in ways that would have seemed unimaginable a decade ago. Yet anyone with more than a passing interest in the technologies understands that we are currently experiencing the tip of the iceberg with regards to the potential of these technologies. Smartphone, tablet and PC makers are building AR and VR support into their new devices and headsets and controllers are steadily becoming cheaper, more robust and better-supported with apps for work and play.

Whether it’s immersing customers in virtual worlds via headsets (VR) or inserting virtual objects into the everyday world to augment customer experiences (AR), these technologies are revolutionising the supply chain from factory to consumer and the all-important customer experience.

The technology is already here

AR and VR technologies have been around for a while, but their entry into the mainstream has been slow. However, their influence is already being felt through the availability of an ever-increasing number of smartphone apps and big commitments in viewable hardware from all the world’s leading IT companies. These include Microsoft, with its HoloLens battery-powered ‘mixed reality’, Google’s Cardboard viewer, Samsung’s Gear VR, and Facebook’s Oculus. Meanwhile the DAQRI platform has introduced AR to automotive, construction, education, healthcare, manufacturing and utilities organisations. Thousands of global start-ups are also competing for their own niche share of this burgeoning global market.

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Engage your customers more deeply

AR and VR are can help businesses to connect meaningfully with their customers in the digital age. This means offering multi-sensory products and services that incorporate touch, sight, sound and even smell. This could include everything from buying a leather lounge suite to an apartment off a plan to a state-of-the-art presentation of a prospective holiday destination. Additionally, offering services that incorporate the latest features in these technologies is rapidly becoming key to establishing and sustaining an emotional connection with customers through marketing, sales and support cycles.

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Benefits for businesses great and small

As AR and VR move progressively from testing and early uptake into the mainstream, businesses will benefit greatly in a range of areas such as the collection of more actionable data from wearable devices, the ability to access expert advice in real time, the increased mobility that AR can offer a company’s workforce, and the ability to see and correct weaknesses in supply chains, just to name a few.

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